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Annals of Marketing
Cheez Doodles, Cheetos, Fast Foods and Wine
Wednesday, 27th February, 2013  - David Farmer

In the world of food and beverages to create a product which consumers constantly crave is the Holy Grail. 'Morrie Yohai, 90, the Man Behind Cheez Doodles, Is Dead'; Dennis Hevesi, August 2nd 2010, New York Times, takes up the story: "The millions of snackers who canít stop munching Cheez Doodles, those air-puffed tubes of cheddar-flavored corn meal, owe all that pleasure to Morrie Yohai - although he insisted on spreading the credit".

"...They were looking for a new salty snack and became aware of a machine that processed corn meal under high pressure into a long tube shape," Robbie Yohai said on Monday. "They also discovered that if they used a high-speed blade, similar to a propeller, they could cut three-inch-long tubes, which then could be flavored with orange cheddar cheese and seasonings." Then baked, not fried."

Mr Yohai created his breakthrough snack food in the 1950s but perhaps was inspired by Cheetos which was dreamed up in 1948 by Elmer Doolin. Cheetos is now the bigger brand and has 21 line extensions.

Steadily the giant American food industry has discovered what the American consumer wants and built on this to deliver today's plethora of fast foods and snacks.

In 'The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food'; Michael Moss, New York Times, February 20th, 2013 writes; "I called on Steven Witherly, a food scientist ..... I brought him two shopping bags filled with a variety of chips to taste. He zeroed right in on the Cheetos. "This, Witherly said, "is one of the most marvelously constructed foods on the planet, in terms of pure pleasure." He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff's uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. "It's called vanishing caloric density," Witherly said. "If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there's no calories in it ..... you can just keep eating it forever."

The food industry reworks the three key ingredients, salt, sugar and fat constantly searching for another line extension. We have similar thinking technologists and marketers in the wine business who also dream of a vinous equivalent of the Cheez Doodle. To date there endeavours have been rather basic and generally revolve around sugar, resulting in another pointless line extension.

Don't count them out though as they will be back. Having a shot at gaining entry to the vinous Hall of Fame will drive them on as only then can they turn to mum and dad and say, I made it.

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